F Black, released by the house of Salvatore Ferragamo, is recommended quite often as a bang-for-buck scent among the fragrance community. Search it on YouTube and you’ll see a slew of videos raving about it. It’s cheap, it’s inoffensive and it performs well for an eau de toilette. You’d think this makes the perfect trifecta, and most reviewers seem to think so.
I blind bought a bottle at a very cheap price, but even then I’m not so sure that I feel the hype.
The perfumer behind this fragrance is Olivier Polge, known for other scents such as Bleu de Chanel Parfum, Paco Rabanne’s Invictus, Viktor and Rolf’s Spicebomb and the great original formulation of Dior Homme. Polge is currently the house perfumer for Chanel, a prestigious position.
My first impression of F Black as it leaves the atomiser is that it’s quite loud. It’s got the crowd pleasing designer DNA, however, aside from that it doesn’t really know what it wants to be. It’s quite bottom heavy, with the top notes having little presence – it’s clear from the beginning that the scent will have good longevity.
The bottle looks spiffy with a curved glass design and a protrusion of black plastic under where the lid meets the bottle. It certainly photographs well.
When it comes to the actual feel of the bottle, though, the glued on black plastic part makes it feel pretty cheap. The fragrance comes most commonly in sizes of 50mL and 100mL.
F Black’s big selling point is the price – it’s easily obtainable for under $1AUD per mL. Production is discontinued, but it’s still available at some discounters and can easily be found on eBay.
The Olfactory Notes
I find this fragrance to be pretty linear, which is unsurprising given the limited note list and the presence of repeated notes across the heart and the top.
Olfactory notes listed are apple and lavender, but I don’t really get the apple. Lavender is also listed in the top notes and it combines with the listed lavender absolute in the heart notes to noticeably dominate the scent overall. I detect a tiny hint of black pepper in the heart which gives a slight twist of spice to the scent character, and there is supposedly some coriander seed (listed on the note profile) but I don’t smell it.
The base notes are labdanum, which gives the scent a resinous backbone, and tonka bean. I find it pretty difficult to distinguish the lavender from the tonka bean – the lavender in this scent is thick and sweet rather than sharp and woody – which leads me to think both notes in this instance are derived from coumarin.
There’s a lot of competition between the notes in this scent, rather than harmony. This suggests to me that the blend was rushed and unfinished, as the perfumer behind this scent has created some excellent blends in his career.
F Black is an inoffensive scent, but it’s also utterly boring and confused in character. Add that to the loudness and the conflict within the blend, and I consider it to be passable at best. Don’t spray a lot of this fragrance at once.
The scent does have effective projection, and will be noticed when you wear it. People on the net claim to get a fair few compliments on wearing this scent, so if that’s your thing, it’s a positive.
F Black is a solid performer and will last around 10 hours.
What Would I Wear This With?
I wear this fragrance exclusively with manual work clothes, only when I’m going to be breaking a sweat. I wouldn’t wear it with anything else.
Well, it’s a scent with solid longevity and it’s simple. When I’m working outside or on a vehicle, I don’t want an intricate scent that inspires me to dwell on it. I want something simple that smells okay, and lasts. Since I blind bought a bottle of F Black, that’s what I do with it.
That’s what this scent does.
Despite the value proposition, I really don’t think this scent is worth spending your money on unless you’re brand new to fragrance. Don’t believe the hype.
There are so many more interesting fragrances out there that are obtainable at good prices.
I’m not sold on buying cheaper fragrances on the notion of being able to get more juice for a lower price. I’d rather buy a smaller portion or a decant of something better; it’s much more enjoyable than a large portion of mediocrity.
Thanks for tuning in,